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Monday, April 11, 2011

Pancake Goes To The Vet

Pancake, post-surgery with the TV remote

When Pancake picked Clive up on Moo 2 in December, the first concern, well okay one of the concerns I had, was that as a girl cat, there would be the issue of going into heat and then of course new baby kittens. I received some great advise from John of the Soi Dog foundations when I posted about Pancake. One of the points he made was for getting her spayed.

When we moved here to Rawai, the issue of the need to get spayed became more evident, as the new neighbours have a collection of cats. In fact they had kittens shortly before our arrival. And the cats they do have roam the neighbourhood freely. And there is a big nasty looking bob-tailed black Tom cat who makes a neighbourhood patrol with the pleasant tom cat howl at all hours of the night. He had taken to staring me down and then urinating across for my gate, and I caught him at one point all lined up to christen my motorbike.
Lets just say that Mr. Tom and I are not what anyone would call friends.

All of this cat activity has of course been an added bonus as far as the dogs are concerned. While they may have to tolerate Pancakes constant attacks on their long drooping ears, and their tails wagging in happiness are an instant attraction for a flying tackle, they have decided all other cats are; as is nature, the enemy. And as anyone who knows cats, the cats seem to take great delight in getting four bassets baying and running, as the cat sits on the fences and looks down as if to say "stupid dogs". Stands up, has a big yawn, a stretch and walks away. I notice that the cats all have a very striking resemblance to Mr. Tom cat. How much interbreeding has taken place one could never guess with any degree of accuracy.

I have even come across the various cats from time to time actually wandering into the house. This creates for a great scene of chaos, as they have usually walked past on of the sleeping dogs to get in the house, when they get spotted by another. A great basset call to arms ensures, with baying and barking, accompanied by the sounds of the same dogs trying to get traction on the polished ceramic flooring. One eveningin particular, I think the interloper got confused and found herself in the corner of the room, at the furthest point from the door. I will admit that part of me wanted to not intervene, but the more practical side said I had to. And so I cleared a corridor for the cat to escape.

Pancake makes friendly with the cats for the most part and has managed to climb a palm treet to facilitate meeting up with her posse on the gravel moo for their evening  get togethers. All hunched donw and simpy looking around, until some unwritten signal terminates the meeting and they all go off in their speerate directions.

Getting a cat spayed here is the same as back in Canada. Soi Dog has a program, which we would probably love to use, but it means putting Pancake in a cage on the back of the motorbike for the one hour drive to their centre. So we opt for the local vet. I had always been schooled in determining spaying age in months, but here the vet told us that you go by body weight, as apparently they mature sexually more quickly than in the west. And so when she hit the magic 2 kilogram body weight (2.5 was her actual weight) off she went to the vet. The vet here runs his clinic during the day and does surgery in the evening, so she had an overnight stay. It is funny how suddenly her absence was felt. I think secretly the dogs loved it, as they could wander without fear of ambush anywhere in the house.
By sunrise, Clive was already pacing the floor waiting to go to the vet to get his little girl.

Her surgery went well and she was ready to come home the next morning. Clive went to get her, and I was surprised when they arrived back home and she had this cone on her neck, like a giant funnel. Now, I will admit that I have an issue with those cones, as well as the usual instructions post-surgery that the vet always gives you. I personally refer to them as the "cone of shame", as most animals wearing them have a look of shame and embarrassment. The cones, and believe me I have had my share of cones, that I held for reuse and just as I threw them out, one of the dogs needed to get one again. I understand the purpose, is to keep the animal from accessing the wound site. With one of my previous dogs, Jackson  I found the solution was to dilute a few drops of Tabasco sauce and put a water proof wrap securely over the bandaging and wipe a little bit of it over the wrapping. After a lick or two, they tend to not want to have anything to do with that bandage. In fact with Jackson, just taking out the Tabasco bottle to do some cooking usually resulted in him making a hasty exit from the kitchen.  The cone alternative was just too destructive, and I could only handle watching him ram the cone edge into a tree or doorway so much before I decided it had to go. And the vet would ALWAYS say keep them calm, issue a pain killer and send you home. So I would have a stoned dog, that felt no pain, in a cone ramming through the bush. And so Pancake arrives home with the cone, and in her post surgery drug induced stupor, decides to chase the bassets again. This time they are now even more terrorized by this cone. which has effectively increased her head ramming space by about 200%.

And the pills. My goodness the pills. An assortment of colours and sizes. Some so big, I think I could not handle swallowing. The solution is to shove them down their throat. But trying that in some cases with six different pills is a disaster waiting to happen. I also have that unique factor, called the Basset Effect. When one of them is getting pills, the others want to crowd in to see what it is that say Byron is getting, and they are not, and if the one being administered managed to gag it to the point they can cough it across the room, the scramble is on by three others to quickly find and swallow whatever it was. Now trying to feed it to them would be a fight, but to capture something Byron just coughed up is apparently not the same. I have wondered about how to coordinate it enough to say administer what Annie should get, to Byron, so he can cough it up and she will snort down without hesitation, as opposed to trying to get it into Annie in the first place. I have even tried to hide pill sin things such as a sausage. For a basset this is normally a 100% effective approach, as it is food and they will swallow in anticipation of the next chunk, without blinking an eye. I say Normally, as the two male Bassets Byron, and previously Beuford, they had the ability to sniff out the pill, take the sausage and much it efficiently enough to expel the pill. Byron to this day will not eat a sausage, as he is suspicious that any sausage contains a pill. And so Pancake comes home with pills and a liquid anti-biotic. Sticking the pill in her mouth proves to be no problem. However to inject a 3ml dose of this orange, vile smelling liquid is another thing. I must say that 3ml is a lot of liquid to swallow on a good day for a small cat. So we have tried three shots of 1ml. This is not very effective, as she knows that there are more to come after the first one. And she has become good at spewing it out, ala Linda Blair in the Exorcist, from any direction of the 360 degree circle, including backwards. Trying to do this with the bassets around was a problem for one dose, as she spewed it out they clamoured to lick up what had flown about the room and landed on me or the floor. Now when an animal like a basset who will eat poop, to turn up their nose, must say something about the medication. Bu tthey have no interest in the administering of Pancakes anti-biotics. We on the otherhand, look forward to it with even less enthusiasm.

Today it has been 48 hours since her surgery and off she went on the motorbike for her check-up. She is doing fine. And now when I hear Mr. Tom cat give his call, I have less worries about having a litter of kittens.

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